Red Wings-Wild Preview
Todd Bertuzzi has played in 999 career games. His recent ones
have likely been some of his more enjoyable.
In his 1,000th game, the veteran winger will try to continue his
sudden offensive resurgence and lead the Red Wings to a season-high
fifth straight win Sunday against the host Minnesota Wild.
Bertuzzi had eight goals in his first 54 games this season but
has posted three two-goal games during Detroit’s win streak. He
scored his second goal Friday night with 7:32 remaining and gave
the Central Division leaders a 4-3 victory at Florida, their third
in a row on the road.
“I’m still capable of scoring,” said Bertuzzi, who has 287
career goals and 417 assists. “A lot of it has to do with who I’m
playing with. We’ve got pretty good chemistry.”
The Red Wings (36-16-6) have outscored opponents 20-8 during
their win streak after being outscored 12-4 over their previous
Bertuzzi’s linemate, Henrik Zetterberg, has eight assists and
one goal during a five-game point streak. Pavel Datsyuk also has
five goals and four assists since returning from a broken right
wrist Feb. 7.
“Everyone’s a little bit calmer,” Bertuzzi said. “Everyone’s
going out there and doing it. Be happy and enjoying playing out
there. I think we’re really concentrating on playing really solid
defense and when we do that we end up scoring a lot, too.”
While Bertuzzi has a five-game point drought against Minnesota,
seven different Red Wings have scored goals as the teams have split
two games versus the Wild this season.
Detroit, however, couldn’t hold on to a late one-goal lead at
home Nov. 19, losing 4-3 on John Madden’s overtime goal. The Red
Wings posted a 44-27 shot advantage in that game and a 27-17 edge
in a 4-1 victory Dec. 26, their 15th in 20 games against the Wild
Minnesota, fighting for a playoff spot, enters this game after
rediscovering its scoring touch and avoiding a third straight loss
with a 5-1 victory over visiting Anaheim on Friday.
Kyle Brodziak had a goal and two assists for the Wild, who had
scored one goal in each of their previous two games.
Minnesota, winners in five of six at home, got defenseman Marek
Zidlicky back after a 21-game absence due to a separated shoulder,
but Mikko Koivu left after the first period with a hand injury.
“It’s part of the game, injuries, and you have to try to live
with it and survive,” goaltender Niklas Backstrom said. “Everyone
stepped up. It’s not just one player that can fill his spot.
Everyone on the ice has to be better.”
The Wild recalled center Cody Almond from their AHL affiliate in
Houston on Saturday, a sign that Koivu might not be available for
“(Koivu is) a huge player on our team and it’s a big void when
he’s not in there,” Brodziak said.
If the Wild don’t have their captain, they might lean on
Backstrom, who has a 1.33 goals-against average in six starts this
month. He’s 1-4-2 with a 3.57 GAA in nine career appearances
against the Red Wings.
Detroit has split its past four games in Minnesota after going